Madrid is famous for its movida. One of the funniest things to do in Madrid is going round tapas restaurants to try the most delicious tapas. Tapas are appetizers that once accompanied the sherry. Today there are all kinds of tapas, simple or elaborate, with cheese, fish, olives, vegetables, eggs. All the ingredients recall the Mediterranean culinary tradition. Tapas restaurants in Madrid are always very close to each other, because when you go on a tapas tour you definitely have to try different types of tapas in different bars, always accompanied by a good glass of wine or a beer 😉 Times for “tapear” (this is how locals call the tapas tour) are from 13pm to 16pm and from 20pm to 22pm. Once, it was easier to find places in Spain where you bought a drink and a tapa were served with it for free. Now, often tapas are not free, but you can still find excellent tapas with a good price-quality ratio.
I decided to make a list according to Madrid zones so that you can easily put into my 3-days itinerary of Madrid.
MADRID CITY CENTER
If you are in the centre of Madrid you cannot miss the following tapas restaurants:
1. Bodega de la Ardosa. Calle Colón 13. Near Mercado de Fuencarral.
I like this little bar in the center of Madrid, because it seems to have preserved intact the interior and that the time has stopped to 1892, when it was founded. There are lots of old bottles on the walls (it reminds me the style of some English pub). Among the most delicious tapas try tortilla and shrimp croquettes. Price no more than €15 per person.
Saturday and Sunday: 11.45am – 2.30am
2. Le Patrón Bistrot. Calle del Barco 27. Website.
I love this lovely and stylish bistrot in the heart of Madrid, only 7 minutes walking from Gran Vía. Not only tapas but also international cuisine with excellent dishes, such as Thai Chicken, the Brownies, the Italian burrata, which are really superb. There is a successful fusion between French and Spanish cuisine. The ingredients are fresh. Txipirones a la plancha con patatas y cebolla pochada with aceite de ajo y perejil (grilled squids with potatoes and poached onion with parsley oil and garlic) or the Jamón ibérico de bellota & pa amb tomàquet (tomato bread) are among my favorite dishes. My friends tried Dúo de Foie Gras and it was good too. If you also add a good wine tasting (or “Tinto de Verano”) you will come to pay about €30 per person. It is not cheap compared to other places, but it is an experience not to miss. The menu is not huge, because they focus on a few high-quality dishes. The environment is very nice, friendly and not very big. Photo courtesy of Le Patrón.
Friday – Saturday: 13pm – 17pm / 19pm – 1.30am
Sunday: 13pm – 17pm
Sunday at night and Monday: closed
3. Cervecería 100 Montaditos. Calle Mayor 22 or Calle de la Montera 34 (near Puerta del Sol). Website.
It is a Spanish chain where you can enjoy good food at low prices. I put it in my list, because often you do not know where to go to enjoy good tapas and you get into any restaurant without knowing what to expect. Then the final blow: a huge bill and food for which let’s face it, it is not so good. Here you can try good tapas at low cost. The specialties are the montaditos, sandwiches, but there are also good salads. The cost per montadito is from €1 to €2.50. Try also squids, chicken wings and onion rings with salsa barbacoa. Salads are from €3.50 and up. Obviously you cannot miss sangría, tinto de verano and beer. Every Monday one montadito is €0.50. Wednesdays and Sundays montaditos and appetizers cost €1 and a 0,40cl beer is €1.50. Photo courtesy of Cervecería 100 Montaditos.
NOTE: Don’t go to El Tigre, suggested in many travel guides and elsewhere. Very low prices as much as the quality of tapas. Better to spend a little more, but eating something edible.
4. Casa Labra. Calle Tetuán 12. Near Puerta del Sol.
This is a typical Spanish restaurant, first opened in 1860. To me you can taste better tapas in other places, but potato croquettes and fried cod are so yummy! The croquettes cost about €0.90. The fried cod is about €1.40. The most annoying thing is that this place is crowdy and you have to wait a bit before you enter. You eat standing up.
Naviego is another great place off the beaten track. If you buy a drink they give you free tapas. Try tortilla de patata, mushrooms and jamón ibérico.
Opening times: 9am – 1am
6. Mesón de la Guitarra. Cava de San Miguel 13.
Mesón de la Guitarra is place that looks like an old house very close to Plaza Mayor. Nice for tapas, sangria and live music! Spanish omelette with chorizo is excellent. It costs €9.50). Prices range from €6 to €20 for Tabla de Ibéricos de Bellota.
7. Bodegas Ricla. Calle Cuchilleros 6.
Do you love vermouth? This family owned restaurant, founded in 1867, is a must. Taste the Vermouth Izaguirre with tapas (smoked sausage is fab and chickpeas are good too). They also give you free tapas.
This tapas restaurant is off the beaten tracks. There are painted tiles on the walls. You will pay no more than €15 per person for 4 tapas and sangria. I tasted amazing roast potatoes with garlic sauce, fried calamari and grilled cuttlefish. A dear friend of mine tasted pig ears (I did not find the courage), but it seems they are very good.
Friday – Saturday: 12pm – 16.30pm /19pm- 1.30am.
9. La Venencia. Calle Echegaray 7.
This place is incredible! I think that the atmosphere is more stunning that the tapas you try. There is no table service and you cannot take any pictures. If you love sherry you are in the right place. The decor is spartan, there are wooden tables, antique prints on the walls and soft lighting. The environment is where the charm of this place lies. Try tapa de mojama (made with tuna fillets) and sherry which is in sherry casks.
LA LATINA QUARTER
10. La Concha. Cava Baja 7. Website.
This little place is fantastic. There are many Spanish (often it is a good sign). The interior is very simple. There are classic cement tiles on the floor and the bar is blue. You have to go downstairs to eat. Here tapas are gluten free! There are all kinds, ranging from €4.50 to €12. My favorite tapas: Smoked salmon with tzatziki sauce (€4.50), Andalucian toast of tomato puree, herbs & bread (€6.50), fish balls and salmorejo (Spanish cold soup, tomato, garlic, bread, oil and vinegar). About €25 per person for 4 tapas and wine. Photo courtesy of La Concha.
11. La Chata. Cava Baja 24.
You will notice this place because there is a beautiful painted ceramic tile mural. Here you can choose a set menu which ranges from €30 to €45 (depending on what you choose) and includes four starters for 4 people, 1 second dish and then bread, drink, coffee and dessert. Or you can choose single tapas. Tapas menu for 2 people is about €20, consisting of 4 tapas and a piece of bread.
Closed: Tuesday and Wednesday in the morning.
12. Casa Lucas. Cava Baja 30.
Here’s another delicious restaurant for “tapear”. The restaurant is very small, it means that it could be crowdy. Go in advance if you want to find a table.
I have tasted the pork tenderloin with caramelized onions and croquettes and jamón ibérico, while my friend tasted the octopus with potatoes and oxtail (another thing I didn’t taste for lack of courage lol, but it seems that it is delicious). Pinxtos are good! About €20 per person plus wine.
Monday -Thursday, Sunday 20pm – 24am.
Friday -Saturday 13pm – 16pm / 20pm – 1am.
13. El Tempranillo. Calle Cava Baja 38.
Calle Cava Baja is one of the busiest streets in the evening. It is in La Latina district, the center of nightlife in Madrid. Many people “tapean” in this tavern. There are many wine bottles on the wall behind the counter. Very nice! The wines are delicious! Try delicious pintxos (Basque version of tapas, but more elaborate) such as those with mushrooms or with apples and foie gras. The cost for tapas is about €2.60.
Opening times: 13pm -16pm / 20pm – 24am.
14. Casa Gerardo (Almacen de vinos). Calle de Calatrava 21.
This tavern, off the beaten track, is 7 minutes walking from Calle Cava Baja. Here you can try good tapas, such as cheese croutons (tostas in Spanish), goulash with shrimp, and wines.
15. Sanlúcar. Calle San Isidro Labrador 14. Website.
A typical Spanish environment and prices are good. Salmorejo, a typical soup made from tomato, garlic, pieces of hard bread, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt, all blended, is very tasty! I also loved tortilla with crayfishes and fried squids. You can eat good with €20.
Have you tried different tapas restaurants in Madrid? Let me know! Leave a comment! 🙂